• Itch.io Bundles More Than 740 DRM-Free Indie Games For $5 To Raise Money For Racial Justice And Equality

    Itch.io, an open marketplace that sells DRM-free indie games, has worked with a large stable of independent developers and creators to release an enormous bundle to raise money in the ongoing fight against racial injustices. The bundle features 742 items from 564 different developers and carries a value of more than $3,400. However, you can pick up this massive collection of indie games for as little as $5, as Itch.io attempts to reach a goal of $2 million raised through pay-what-you-want sales. This collection features many games you've likely never heard of, but it also contains several gems and darlings including Night in the Woods, Oxenfree, Quadrilateral Cowboy, Minit, and Super Hexagon. Every game is DRM free and is delivered via direct download rather than codes you would have to enter into Steam or another launcher. All proceeds from sales of this bundle will be donated 50/50 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund. As of this writing, Itch.io has raised nearly $1.2 million for these funds through sales of this bundle. Itch.io's pay-what-you-want Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality is available now with the offer ending June 16.

  • The Smite-Themed Auto-Battler Prophecy Heads To Early Access

    By now you've probably tried quite a few auto-battlers, if they're your thing. It's cool if they're not your thing either, but for some the game genre resonates as a more relaxing, cerebral experience. With Dota Underlords, Teamfight Tactics, and Hearthstone's Battlegrounds (and many, many others) all offering a strategy experience that doesn't tax your micromanagement, there are lots of choices out there to pick from. Now, there's one more in early access form - Prophecy. Click here to watch embedded media While it may look like a Hi-Rez game because it does use assets and characters from Smite, Prophecy Games has licensed those resources from Hi-Rez. That said, if you've played the Hi-Rez MOBA, you will be right at home with many characters and abilities right from the get-go. In a stark contrast to other auto-battlers, characters don't come with their traits - they're purchased separately and drawn from a different pool each game. This means even if you manage to pull off an ultimate-mana-surging double-casting mage build one game, you may never see (or be able to pick up) those same traits, characters, and items all come together in the same way ever again. While all auto-battlers require you to pay some attention to what other players are doing in terms of drafting, the variance here and game flow encourages players to forsake going into a match with a "meta" build already in mind. Instead, you have to see what other players are doing, respond appropriately, and come up with a build on the fly depending on availability and demand. Prophecy is free-to-play and available in early access on Steam. If you like auto-battlers, you might want to give it a try!

  • Destiny 2’s Latest Live Event Saves The Last City Once More

    The current season of Destiny 2 wraps up this week, and the focus throughout this season has been preparing for a very specific attack. The Almighty, a ship used by the Cabal in the game’s base campaign, has been hurtling toward the Traveler and the Last City throughout the last many weeks, and players have been working with the AI Warmind named Rasputin to power a counter-attack. In the final hours before the Almighty’s impending crash, Rasputin finally hit full power today, and for 90 painfully slow minutes, players were able to gather at the Tower and watch the fireworks. The Almighty loomed in the sky, blocking out the sun, and many of the Tower residents had changed positions to watch its approach. I watched the entire event unfold, which at times left players, both in my gaming instance, and in online forums for the game, scratching their heads in confusion. Had the event started? Was something more going to happen? As it turns out, the event was always intended to be a very slow burn. As we watched, red flashing laser blasts from Rasputin began to appear in the sky from multiple directions. And only after watching for nearly an hour could players see any sense of the weapons hitting their target. After the initial barrage, the debris in the distant sky became more obvious, until at long last, the Almighty’s core began to appear to distintegrate. An hour and half after it all started, a huge flash of light showed the Almighty’s entry into our atmosphere, and its near miss as its shattered hulk flew past the Last City, the Tower, and the Traveler, and finally, came to rest in the distant mountains, sending out an enormous shockwave that temporarily deafened the Guardians watching. The entire event was indeed a strange one. In any given instance of the Tower, you could see numerous fellow players simply sitting, unmoving, watching the very slow and distant events unfold. Hardly the norm in an action-packed FPS. Players emoted, having their Guardians eat popcorn, or sit in imaginary lawn chairs. But the final explosion and near-destruction of the Tower certainly made for some drama. In addition, players were able to move to an area near Commander Zavala after the event, where a piece of debris hit a portion of the Tower, and retrieve a new emblem to commemorate their attendance. Check out some pictures of the event, in sequence, from the gallery below. Destiny 2’s new season, which remains something of a mystery, begins this Tuesday, June 9. Click image thumbnails to view larger version                                                                                                              

  • Dauntless Call of the Void Update Launches June 11

    On June 11, the Call of the Void content update arrives in Dauntless on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Switch. Dauntless is cross-platform, so if you want to check out the new stuff with friends on a different platform, you can! Call of the Void is all about darkness, specifically the void element and umbral monsters. Players can tackle the Umbral Escalation, a sort of randomized gauntlet that places you against all kinds of behemoths from throughout the game, perhaps with an umbral tinge to their movesets. Click here to watch embedded media In Escalation, you get to select special abilities from encounter to encounter, so that adds even more variance to each run - you never know what you might fight, but you also never know if you will luck out with a rare skill. At the end of this Escalation event lies Thrax, an extremely dangerous umbral entity that moves fast, hits hard, and calls upon the void itself (hey, this might be related to the content update name!) to take down adventurers. Thrax, while quite difficult, comes with incredibly powerful potential rewards. Over the course of this content patch, players can develop passive powers as they attempt to make it through the Umbral Escalation - so even if you're not downing Thrax on day one, you earn a steady trickle of power that should make the gauntlet easier over time.

  • EA Outlines Anti-Racism/Bigotry Steps In EA Sports Titles

    Electronic Arts has sent out statements outlining some of the changes it is making to combat racist and other offensive speech in its EA Sports games, and the NHL series in particular. Racist, homophobic, sexist, and other toxic speech is not specific to Electronic Arts games by any means, but it has been a problem for EA Sports' NHL series in particular for several years. EA Sports Hockey League (EASHL) online hockey, with its customizable team and player names, is a place where racist and offensive speech has thrived.  In conjunction with other efforts outlined recently, EA Sports has listed out some measures it is taking now and in the future to combat this toxicity, including adding more in-game reporting tools and general resources for its teams to address the problem. pic.twitter.com/RMdtJpJqNe — EA SPORTS (@EASPORTS) June 5, 2020 Afterwords, the EA Sports NHL twitter account sent out its own message, specific to the game. Although it appears that some of the plans are duplications of the more general EA Sports message, the NHL team in particular mentions delivering harsher penalties for offensive content.  pic.twitter.com/hMTasmi9JB — EA SPORTS NHL (@EASPORTSNHL) June 6, 2020 Some of these actions have different implementation timelines for different games, but hopefully all of these communities can benefit from these actions as soon as possible. For more on combating toxicity in online titles, be sure to check out Kim's excellent feature on the topic. [Source: Electronic Arts (1), (2)]

  • Electronic Arts Postpones EA Play Event By A Week

    Electronic Arts has postponed this year's EA Play games showcase (normally timed around the E3 event) by a week after the recent events surrounding the killing of George Floyd. The event – originally planned for June 11 – will now occur one week later on June 18. Although the notice (below) doesn't specifically mention Black Lives Matter, the company says it's pausing in order to let important conversations and voices be heard. Earlier this week, Sony also postponed its planned PlayStation 5 presentation. pic.twitter.com/6NSTb4cxqE — Electronic Arts (@EA) June 5, 2020 [Source: Electronic Arts]

  • A Console Version Of Valorant Is Being Prototyped

    First-person tactical shooter Valorant just came out of beta, with a new character, mode, and map. In an interview with GameSpot, Riot Games said that a console Valorant is being prototyped. Valorant plays a lot like Valve's Counter-Strike, with a focus on team communication, round-to-round economy, obstructing sight, and using information to make big plays. Valorant also adds "hero shooter" abilities to the mix, leading to serious potential to set up game altering scenarios by bringing someone back to life or area-denying with poison. A game mode that was added on launch, Spike Rush, allows for quick rounds, random guns, big powerups and fast games to go along with the marathon sessions that the standard game type fosters. But there's a big question for the PC-centric title right now - is it ever going to come to console? Click here to watch embedded media Riot followed up the prototype statement with a caveat that the game may not translate to console play.  "We are definitely prototyping that right now," Donlon told GameSpot. "But there's a way to play this game and there's a way to experience this game that we're not entirely sure translates completely to console play." You can check out the entire interview and more details over at GameSpot.  For more on Valorant, take a peek at some of our beta impressions here and here, and stick around in the coming days for a full review.

  • Cyberpunk 2077 Xbox One X Bundle Includes First DLC

    Microsoft unveiled its Cyberpunk 2077 Xbox One X bundle a few months back, which included a custom Xbox One X console, a Cyberpunk-themed controller, a digital copy of Cyberpunk 2077. Adding to that haul, the bundle now also comes with a code for the first batch of Cyberpunk 2077 DLC. CD Projekt Red's follow-up content for its Witcher series has been top-notch, so this could be a really good deal.  Microsoft says that only 45,000 of these consoles will be manufactured, so this is a limited edition. Of course, copies of the game itself will be more plentiful when it releases on September 17. The bundle is available for pre-purchase now, so happy console buying!

  • Obscure Maxis Game SimRefinery Now Playable

    Well, this is a weird one. A while ago, game historian Phil Salvador wrote an in-depth history about Maxis Business Simulations, a Maxis offshoot designed to apply gameplay concepts to real-world applications. One of the story's focal points is a game prototype developed in collaboration with Chevron in 1992 called SimRefinery. It was never completed, and was presumed lost. Fortunately for all of us, that's not where the story ends. Ars Technica posted about the piece, and one of its readers happened to be friends with a retired chemical engineer. Long story short, that person had a copy of the mysterious game on a 3.5" floppy disk. Better still, it worked. And, even better than that, they've decided to upload the game to the Internet Archive.  Keep in mind that this program was designed for chemical engineers and plant workers, and that it's incomplete. Don't think that you'll be able to learn how to run a plant yourself, either. Its intent wasn't to show the mechanics of how plants operate, but instead to show how various parts of a plant are connected and can affect one another. Even if you aren't interested in playing the game, check out Salvador's piece that set this whole thing into motion. And Ars Technica breaks down the entire saga of how the game was shared here.

  • World of Warcraft Reveals Ardenweald

    We're all expecting World of Warcraft: Shadowlands to arrive sometime this year, and possibly sooner rather than later. Blizzard has decided to give players a taste of what's to come in the Azerothian afterlife by revealing some details from one of the 4 major zones players will be leveling up and exploring in as they make their way to level 60. At cap, players determine a Shadowlands faction to side up with. Selecting a faction gives you access to a special covenant hall, mount, transmog armor abilities, and much much more - your covenant identity plays a huge role in Shadowlands at both the functional and flavor levels. Right now, they're giving us an early peek at Ardenweald, the realm of the Night Fae. If you're into druids and the Emerald Dream, spirit animals, and all that kind of thing with a touch of winter instead of summer, this is going to be the covenant for you. Like the other major afterlife zones, Ardenweald comes with its own special inhabitants and environments that set it apart. You can get a full rundown of all the curious creatures you can meet on the World of Warcraft site here. We don't have a release date for Shadowlands just yet, but I expect an announcement can't be that far off. Until then, check out our tour of another zone coming to Shadowlands - Revendreth!

  • The Kingdoms Of Amalur Re-Reckoning Comes

    Update: THQ has confirmed the not-so-subtle rumors, adding that the game will also include all of the released DLC. The rumours are true! Prepare for a Re-Reckoning, because Kingdoms of Amalur is coming back. Remastered with stunning visuals and refined gameplay, it's soon time to experience an epic RPG journey and all its DLCs like never before.#KingdomsOfAmalur #ReReckoning pic.twitter.com/MlpSCTrjPe — Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning (@ReckoningGame) June 4, 2020 [Source: THQ Nordic] Original Story: Listings for Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning have been discovered on the official Microsoft store (and is still up as of the time of this writing) and Amazon, unofficially revealing a remastered edition for 38 Studios' cult title. THQ acquired the rights to the game developed by former-MLB pitcher Curt Schilling's development studio in 2018. Despite picking up the property, at the time original publisher Electronic Arts still had the actual publishing rights, possibly preventing the release of a remaster. Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning comes out on August 18 according to the Microsoft store Xbox One listing as well as Amazon, which also shows versions for PS4 and PC. THQ has yet to officially announce the title, but its twitter did have this to say: Kingdom of... what? Never heard of it. — THQ Nordic (@THQNordic) June 4, 2020 For more on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, check out this episode of Replay featuring the title. [Source: Xbox.com via Wario64 on Twitter]

  • Destiny 2 Teases Next Steps

    Bungie has been very quiet about the newest season of Destiny 2, scheduled to begin next week. Previous seasons have had clear names discussed weeks or months in advance, but this summer’s season has consistently been titled Season of the [Redacted]. In addition, the developers have been gradually teasing a number of separate story threads for some time, including the impending arrival of the pyramid ships hinted at in earlier installments of the game, the Drifter’s complicated allegiances, and the current threat of a giant Cabal ship hurtling toward humanity’s last city. While we don’t know yet if all those (and other) threads are finally coming to a head, we do now know that Bungie plans to hold back announcements until the very day of the new season. Season of the [REDACTED] is scheduled to launch on June 9, and a new teaser, first surfacing on the game’s official Twitter, suggests that the future of Destiny 2 will be revealed on the morning of June 9, at 9am Pacific. Check out the brief trailer on Destiny's official Twitter feed, which seems to show the Drifter piloting toward a particularly icy moon.